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Update: A notice has appeared on RedHotAnt's Web site announcing that it has pulled its unmetered Net service due to "funding" problems.

The same notice is also available on a recorded message on RHA's telephone support line.

The move appears to quash earlier speculation that an email sent to RHA subscribers yesterday announcing it had pulled it service might have been a hoax.

According to RHA, the ISP will cease offering unmetered Net access as of today although it will still operate a pay-as-you service.

The notice, signed by "The Management" says: "The recent fall out within the technology sector, has meant that it has been impossible to secure the necessary funding to continue operating the RedHotAnt unmetered service. We have been in talks with a number of third parties, but as yet, no company has been interested in taking on the liabilities associated with RedHotAnt."

Only last week a RHA spokesman told The Register that the ISP was not winding down its business despite refusing to sign-up new customers to its unmetered service.

This stand now appears to be in question fuelling speculation about the future of the operation, especially since it is talking openly about "liabilities associated with RedHotAnt".

El Reg has already received emails from angry subscribers who have forked out cash for an unmetered Net service only for it to be pulled. No doubt RHA will now have to brace itself for a raft of refunds.

No one from RHA's offices in Hythe, Kent, was available for comment.

The RHA statement in full:

RedHotAnt - Suspension of un-metered service

The recent fall out within the technology sector has meant that it has been impossible to secure the necessary funding to continue operating the RedHotAnt un-metered service. We have been in talks with a number of third parties, however no company has been interested in taking on the liabilities associated with RedHotAnt. If this situation changes details will be posted on the RedHotAnt website.

Under the circumstances our existing telecom provider has given notice that the free phone telephone numbers on which RedHotAnt operates will be withdrawn as of 16th January 2001. In the interests of our current users it has been agreed that existing facilities such as e-mail and domain hosting etc. will continue to run utilising a standard 0845 local call rate number.

In order to continue to access the internet without interruption users will need to change their existing dial up number to 0845 300 3410. Instructions of how to do so can be found on line at http://www.internet-support.net/redhotant

Regrettably, voice based technical support is no longer available, and RedHotAnt is not in a financial position to consider the question of refunds or compensation. If this situation changes, details will be posted on the RedHotAnt website, and on the automatic voice mail system. Meanwhile, the resources no longer exist for us to enter into one to one correspondance with individual customers.

Finally, we would like to apologise to those users who have not had the opportunity to make profitable use of the service.

The Management

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RedHotAnt denies end is nigh

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